The 2014 midterm elections have yet to fully heat-up and it seems that both parties have ceremoniously chosen their top 2016 presidential candidates. This is presumptuous by both parties but nonetheless, with no incumbents on either side, speculation is news and news is speculation.
There are many qualified candidates on each side of the aisle to be presidential nominees, but when it comes to millennials the choices are obvious. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are the two best choices for each party when it comes to winning the coveted, 80 million strong, millennials generation.
When it comes to this Battle Royal between Clinton and Paul, Paul has an edge that will be very difficult for a challenger to overcome. Even though millennials are inclined to lean left this does not mean Clinton has the youth vote in the bag and the libertarian streak within most millennials leaves them as a 2016 toss-up. Both candidates realize the importance of the youth vote to an electoral win, which is why they both are booking more and more speeches at universities.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
In 2016, millennials will be looking for an anti-establishment, pro-Fourth Amendment, pro-Tenth Amendment, anti-Obamacare, and pro-smarter government (not bigger government) candidate. Clinton’s lack of support for all the above puts her in very tight corner once the campaign ads start flying through the airwaves and Paul builds more name recognition.
Millennials want a candidate with new ideas and a record of going to Washington and fulfilling their campaign promises: that candidate is Paul. Paul is a candidate who can get a standing ovation at CPAC and at UC Berkley.
Only 49 percent of young voters believe Clinton offers new ideas, according to a new USA Today/Pew poll. Clinton is as establishment as you can get. She has been a beltway regular since the 90’s and has a reputation of supporting the same disastrous policies as the current administration.
The above is one of the main reasons Clinton lost the millennial vote to Obama in the 2008 primaries. She is viewed as having no new ideas and being of the elite Washington establishment. This has not changed since 2008 and is her first hurdle with millennials as 2016 approaches.
President Barack Obama did well with millennials because he was able to paint himself as an outsider who would enter the White House a transparent president there to shake up the way business was done. The Obama Administration has failed millennials on this promise and has made them even more pessimistic and cautious when voting for presidential candidates.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton laughs while answering a question at the 2014 National Council for Behavioral Health Conference at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Clinton spoke about mental health, political, and social issues during her talk. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Paul, with his unabashed, libertarian ideas speaks directly to millennials when it comes to issues like privacy. He uses the Obama Administration’s NSA scandal to connect with millennials on an issue that they can relate to and are passionate about. Paul was greeted at UC Berkeley with a standing ovation as he berated this infringement on our Fourth Amendment rights and vowed to initiate a bipartisan committee to “watch the watchers.”
In comparison, Clinton has yet to offer any limits or investigations she would put on the NSA if she were elected commander in chief, leaving a large disconnect between her and millennials.
Another uniting idea Paul is championing is the Tenth Amendment; something that Clinton is forgetting and one she most likely doesn’t whole-heartedly support as a big government advocate. Young voters are "liberal" when it comes to most social issues like gay marriage. Keeping the federal government out of social issues and allowing each state to decide where they stand on these issues is the winning argument for gaining youth support.
Millennials have been privileged to experience firsthand, with Obamacare, what it is like when the federal government overreaches into the private lives of citizens. Republicans should be sure to educate millennials that Obamacare is Hillarycare of the 90’s. It would be Clinton's next step if she were elected and will be painted as worse than Obamacare if it passes Congress. This will push a majority of young voters to Paul and the Republican Party.
Photo Credit: AP
Clinton is facing a tough uphill battle if she runs for president against Paul. When it comes to millennials, Clinton’s embedded establishment image and her past support for bigger, more expensive government, and Obamacare (Hillarycare) will be her Achilles’ heel.
The economy, jobs, government spending, government spying, and health care are issues millennials are paying attention to this time around. These are issues that unite young voters with Republicans.
Democrats will not be able to win the election by their made-up war on women or war on the poor. All the economic policies put forth by this administration have failed millennials; from 15.8 percent youth unemployment to the record $30,000 in student loan debt has left the door wide open for a Republican sweep in 2016.
Millennials put their faith and trust in a candidate who lied and used them to ensure his own political future and they will not make that mistake again. Celebrities do not make good presidents.
Salvator La Mastra is an expert in millennials and the youth vote. Follow @SalvatorV
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